The Truth About Cars » art car http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:40:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » art car http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com A Primer On Houston SLAB Culture http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/a-primer-on-houston-slab-culture/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/a-primer-on-houston-slab-culture/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 11:55:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=794826 This well-traveled Houstonian thinks his town is Pistonhead Nirvana, proven every month via fanboi scale and diversity at Cars and Coffee gatherings.  Or with every 1000+hp racer on at Texas2k, every shoestring budget’d LeMons racer and Art Car fanatic: it’s all here. Except there’s nothing like Houston SLAB culture. A confession: I know automotive subcultures, […]

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This well-traveled Houstonian thinks his town is Pistonhead Nirvana, proven every month via fanboi scale and diversity at Cars and Coffee gatherings.  Or with every 1000+hp racer on at Texas2k, every shoestring budget’d LeMons racer and Art Car fanatic: it’s all here. Except there’s nothing like Houston SLAB culture.

A confession: I know automotive subcultures, no matter which socioeconomic population nurtures it, always raise the ire of outsiders. My response?  Every generalization about SLABs applies to anyone building a custom, race or show car. We are all the same, deal with it.   

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Like most automotive hobbies, the Houston SLAB scene starts with the belief that the factory’s work needs improvement.  While spec racers turn a depreciated hulk into a track beast, the SLAB rider takes a slice of unloved Americana, bringing it back to a time when Japanese cars were cheap rust buckets that’d never threaten General Motor’s existence! I mean, look at our grilles and look at theirs, right?

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A car that traces its roots back to the 1970s Pimp Rides is necessary to make a modern SLAB: Camcords need not apply. Any Blaxploitation movie gets you up to speed on Pimp Rides, but the Houston SLAB scene uses them as a springboard to something new.

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Depreciated American luxury cars are the norm: Cadillacs, Buicks and certain Oldsmobiles are preferred.  Lincolns/Panthers and Chryslers are cool too, even Jaguars and Quattroportes pull it off vis-à-vis distinctly luxurious proportions.  But don’t break your budget on the ride, GM’s W-body is one of the most common platforms for good reason, as costly modifications are necessary to pay homage to the Pimp Riders while advancing the game:

  • Massive stereos, some are IASCA worthy with a little tweaking.
  • Kitted out power popping trunks, slathered in custom vinyl and personalized phrases in neon/mirrors.
  • Wire wheels much like the Cragar units supplied as OEM for Cadillac in 1983 and 1984, except replacing the fragile tin content with 100% steel. Texan Wire Wheels sells them as “83s” and “84s”, seemingly cornering this niche market.
  • Vogue tires in new sizes for new cars, naturally.
  • Replacement steering wheels, usually with wood grain rims.
  • Candy Paint, just like any vintage rodder.
  • Reupholstered interiors, taking advantage of the latest trimmings on the market.
  • Aftermarket HID lights, custom LEDs, Lambo doors, flat panel TVs and anything else you’ll find in the custom car scene.
  • Oversized brand logos, like the tailgate emblem from an Escalade.
  • Lowered suspensions (often aftermarket Air Ride) for obvious curb appeal.

That stance is at the SLAB’s core: it’s a sweet American luxury sedan ridin’ close to the curb.  Close to the concrete, up against the “slab”…hence the name. Some suggest that SLAB is an acronym for Slow-Loud-And-Bangin’ but that definition seemingly came later.

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But the wheels make SLABs so eye-catching: references percolating through Houston’s music, Houston’s culture.  Originally a re-pop of those Cadillac rims from 1983 and 1984, some are fed pro-baseball grade growth hormones to extend the hub far beyond Cadillac’s factory specification.  Ordinary wires have “pokes” while insanity ensues when you go “super poke.”  While not sure of their origin, odds are that having more poke comes people’s need to out-do each other. Like everything else in this world!

IMG_1759Your taste in poke is subjective, but they are all known as swangas and elbows.

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Elbows are when the hub and spoke of your wheels “poke” out of your body just like your arm’s elbow when perched atop the door sill.  Makes sense, but Swangas?

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Again, not sure: it’s connected to the organized dance that multiple SLABs do on an open stretch of road.  It’s like watching racers warming up their tires during pace laps.  It’s infectious: even the cops do it.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Here’s what I saw at the first annual SLAB Parade, put on by the Houston Arts Alliance.  This cow town’s been good about supporting the art scene, especially our Art Cars and our screwed and chopped Rap artists.  While H-town Rap is a “thing” for the likes of Jay Z and Justin Timberlake, Detroit has yet to embrace Houston’s re-branding of their Camry prey/Rental Car fodder and their highline euro-wannabes. Aside from the Chrysler 300, of course.

So welcome to the Third Coast, the coast that actually likes American cars. How they were: with real names, impressive proportions and maybe even SLAB hugging overhangs, too. And the people who make them?  They are no different than other car nuts.

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No doubt, Houston is the best place to be a car fanatic, mostly thanks to our diverse population.  Love it or hate it, hopefully you enjoyed seeing this slice of Automotive Americana while I avoided the pitfalls of a milquetoast overview of an automotive sub-culture. Fingers crossed on that last part.

 

 

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Vellum Venom Vignette: Art and Design at The 24 Hours of LeMons 2013 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/vellum-venom-vignette-art-and-design-at-the-24-hours-of-lemons-2013/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/vellum-venom-vignette-art-and-design-at-the-24-hours-of-lemons-2013/#comments Tue, 22 Oct 2013 12:50:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=631010 My worst moment at the College for Creative Studies was during Portfolio Review: a presentation of one’s body of work since the beginning of the semester.  So it comes as no surprise that my favorite parts of a LeMons race is judging the artistic(?) themes of the cheaty $500 race cars in attendance.  Let’s combine […]

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My worst moment at the College for Creative Studies was during Portfolio Review: a presentation of one’s body of work since the beginning of the semester.  So it comes as no surprise that my favorite parts of a LeMons race is judging the artistic(?) themes of the cheaty $500 race cars in attendance.  Let’s combine the two for this quick vignette into an alternate world of automotive design: come up with a moderately creative theme, say or do something idiotic, make me laugh and perhaps I’ll forget about that fancy header…or those super cheaty shocks that supposedly “came with the car.”

Did you really think that car design ends in the studio?

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A 1990′s Pontiac Trans Am is a great canvas. This aftermarket(?) hood works well with the warning sign cribbed from an OSHA-compliant industrial zone. It’s mounted and cut in a way to harmonize with the body’s cut lines…for a reason…

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Right. A toxic waste of a machine. Also note the sweet T-top covers.

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Major props for the Terminator 2 style dying hand in a pit of goo!  This was a great theme that made good use of the Firebird’s real estate. This was a short and sweet Portfolio Review, also because F-bodies are so horrible in LeMons!

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The Tow-Mater themed Miata is a local favorite.  “His” eyeballs went up for this LeMons race, as it was a full 24 hour running.  While not as cute with those square headlights in play, this team did a fantastic job impersonating the vehicle of many a kid’s fancy: check out the weathered paint on the door!  And since this Miata is only moderately cheaty with good-natured racers in tow, well, it’s hard to hammer them too hard during their Portfolio Review.  IMG_1479

Yup, Escort Service.  You just know these guys will fare well in their Portfolio Review. Because this is probably painted on a…IMG_1480

Ford Escort.  While this platform has uber LeMons potential with enough cheating and a decent crew, many an E30 must die in the paddock before it’ll ever win.  Combine that with the truly tasteless (yet clever) theme involving the famous Escort name…yeah, they got off easy. Ish.

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This Shelby (yes, Shelby!) Daytona Z made plenty of friends at the race. Usually Engineers aren’t the most creative with themes…but…IMG_1485

Okay, this isn’t especially clever, but mechanical engineering formulas/jargon on a car tuned by Shelby himself is entertaining. Because we all owe so much to Nikolaus A. Otto!

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Supposedly that’s the formula for an automobile’s exhaust composition. Some of the elements look right to my unverified eyeballs, but it didn’t help this Shelby. It barely ran long enough to produce said byproduct of the Otto Combustion Cycle.

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Beaker from the Muppets sealed the deal: this Shelby sailed through its Portfolio Review easily.  Great theme on a horrible K-car!  How could it NOT dominate the slowest class in LeMons???   (It didn’t, remember it’s still a K-car.)IMG_1496

I had to dress up for my Portfolio Review, so I appreciate it when racers do the same.  Kudos to the flying sausages!
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Great artwork too, by the way.  Someone definitely listened to Rob Zombie when they attacked the hood of this Porker.

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Ditto this Toyota Supra with the Texas flag on the hood, made out of Shiner Beer bottle caps. Passed Portfolio Review with flying colors!

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They say it’s Chuck Norris, I think it’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad! Plus it’s an E30, so this Portfolio Review might go poorly!

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This Buick Century was “hand painted” in support of a local charity in Austin.  Part horrible Art Car, part horrible LeMons racer.  I LOVED IT.  IMG_1510

How can you say no to a vehicle with this much style? With a suspension so soft that the rear sloshes in harmony with the front when you push down on the front bumper?  It literally felt like a water bed with no internal baffles.  Sailed right through the Portfolio Review!

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Pretty obvious, but totally worth a laugh on inappropriateness alone. But this was (IIRC) a super-cheaty Integra, and no amount of low-brow humor can overcome that!

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A brilliantly executed theme on a VW you’d otherwise forget.   IMG_1519Slapping a mannequin onto a Honda Civic does not a good theme make, but seeing the underwear’s collection of track filth netted a hearty laugh. 

IMG_1520Plus it’s a Honda Civic, so it’ll be driven waaaay too hard and the head gasket will go explodey…Portfolio Review, Passed!

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One of my favorite cars is next.  This Ford Probe is an eye catcher in the world of crap cars for a good reason! Note the attention to detail in the paintwork and the craftsmanship in the spoiler made of license plates.

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Retaining the (rather cool when new) Probe SE graphic in your custom LeMons mural? Brilliant! IMG_1526_2

Even their name has some style…even if “some other guys” kinda ruined it.

IMG_1526_3Considering Houston is the home of the Art Car scene, this Probe does a good job mocking the genre. Or is it paying homage?

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And lastly, the Probe’s roof. Michaelangelo would be proud…except not.

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If Upton Sinclair ever ironically drove a Dodge Neon race car in the Land of Steakhouses…

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A truly horrible theme for an increasingly less horrible LeMons racer. At least the team (all two of them) dressed to match the Gas Monkey thing.  This Datsun roadster is all-electric, and considering its terrible (but ever improving) on-track performance, “aping” a horrible TV show that grows on you…well, it totally made sense. What’s that sound that Richard Rawlings always makes?  Wow-ooooh!

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Because Barbie always wanted a GMC Caballero.  Did they ever make a Ken doll with a mullet? IMG_1569

Another winner in this race for losers, they sailed through the Portfolio Review on theme/vehicle choice alone.  They offered to bribe and we told them it wasn’t necessary!

And with that, an apology: I’m sorry to soil your finely honed eyeballs with these horrible excuses for car design.  I promise to do better next time. But thanks for reading…and I hope you have a lovely week. Still!

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Junkyard Find: 1987 Volvo 740 Turbo Art Car http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1987-volvo-740-turbo-art-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1987-volvo-740-turbo-art-car/#comments Mon, 10 Jun 2013 13:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=491436 Since I’ve built (and daily-driven) what I consider to be an art car, I’m not against the concept of an art car. The problem is that you get 100 random-beater-with-army-men-hot-glued-all-over art cars for every brilliant Sashimi Tabernacle Choir. Because affixing random crap all over a cheap car is an accepted route to a certain segment […]

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08 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinSince I’ve built (and daily-driven) what I consider to be an art car, I’m not against the concept of an art car. The problem is that you get 100 random-beater-with-army-men-hot-glued-all-over art cars for every brilliant Sashimi Tabernacle Choir. Because affixing random crap all over a cheap car is an accepted route to a certain segment of San Francisco Bay Area artistic circles, I’ve found a fair number of these things in Northern California wrecking yards. Here’s the first turbocharged art car I’ve seen in my travels.
25 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThis is the same Oakland yard in which we saw the 1985 Toyota Master Ace art car last year, and today’s Volvo is the latest in a series of forlorn-looking art cars that broke something expensive and/or racked up too many parking tickets in revenue-crazed cities such as Berkeley or San Francisco. There was the semi-famous Groovalicious Purple Princess of Peace Ford Taurus wagon and the skull-bedecked ’69 Mustang before that car, and I’m sure that a fair number wash up at junkyards on the route between San Francisco and a popular art-car destination in Black Rock Desert.
29 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinStrangely, no effort was made to incorporate the TURBO INTERCOOLER emblems into the decor.
13 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinLots of beads, lots of feel-good messages (why don’t any art cars have big Nietzsche Family Circus graphics?), the usual stuff.
30 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car will be getting crushed soon, but— even as I write this— somebody is gluing 10,000 mirror fragments on a Mercury Topaz, continuing the infinite spiral of art-car life.

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Junkyard Find: 1985 Toyota Master Ace Art Car http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1985-toyota-master-ace-art-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1985-toyota-master-ace-art-car/#comments Sun, 09 Sep 2012 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=459486 If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and you need something to drive to Burning Man, you’ll find that the glue-a-bunch-of-stuff-all-over-a-random-vehicle art-car approach will let your ride fit in just as effortlessly on the playa as the soccer mom’s Voyager blends in at the mall parking lot. I’m not against art cars (I […]

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If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and you need something to drive to Burning Man, you’ll find that the glue-a-bunch-of-stuff-all-over-a-random-vehicle art-car approach will let your ride fit in just as effortlessly on the playa as the soccer mom’s Voyager blends in at the mall parking lot. I’m not against art cars (I consider my 1965 Impala Hell Project to be an art car at heart), but I prefer the approach of the artists who built such fine machines as the Sashimi Tabernacle Choir or the street-driven Denver Pirate Ship to the type who feels contempt for the canvas disappearing beneath their hot-glue gun. Anyway, the upshot of the large number of Bay Area art-car types who glue 10,000 plastic army men or Lucky Lager caps all over their cars is that many of them wind up in self-service wrecking yards. Here’s a Toyota Master Ace aka Toyota Space Cruiser aka Toyota Van that I spotted last weekend at an East Bay self-serve yard.
The thing about these cars is that the owners often pick up many parking tickets and/or don’t do any maintenance on the mechanical components. That’s probably how the skull-covered ’69 Mustang and Groovalicious Purple Princess of Peace Taurus wagon ended up getting picked over for parts by befuddled junkyard shoppers.
The dash of this Master Ace is covered with wedding toppers, graduation-cake decorations, and plastic bowlers.
It’s too bad that spell-checkers don’t work on backwards writing.
A Master Ace should be good for many more miles than 209,691. Very slow miles, sure, but more of them.
It looks like a thrift-store toy bin exploded in here.
Here’s a cool find: an ANC pin from the apartheid era.
The Department of Mutant Vehicles probably wasn’t impressed by the Thrift Store Explosion Master Ace (how could you be impressed when you’ve got stuff like the Telephone Car driving around?), but I’ll be it went over big at the Forbidden Island.

53 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 25 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 26 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 27 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 28 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 29 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 30 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 31 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 32 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 33 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 34 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 36 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 37 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 38 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 39 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 40 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 41 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 42 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 43 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 44 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 45 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 46 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 47 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 48 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 49 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 50 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 51 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 52 - 1985 Toyota Van Art Car Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Once-Famous Mustang Art Car Falls On Hard Times, Faces Crusher http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/once-famous-mustang-art-car-falls-on-hard-times-faces-crusher/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/once-famous-mustang-art-car-falls-on-hard-times-faces-crusher/#comments Tue, 06 Dec 2011 18:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=421564 After judging at the Arse Freeze-a-Palooza 24 Hours of LeMons near Bakersfield, I headed north to visit my family in the San Francisco Bay Area before heading back to Denver. Naturally, I had to stop by at least one junkyard, and— small world!— I ran into a car that looked very familiar. Yes, this is […]

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After judging at the Arse Freeze-a-Palooza 24 Hours of LeMons near Bakersfield, I headed north to visit my family in the San Francisco Bay Area before heading back to Denver. Naturally, I had to stop by at least one junkyard, and— small world!— I ran into a car that looked very familiar.
Yes, this is the very same ’69 Mustang that I photographed in my old neighborhood in Alameda and immortalized in a DOTS post on Jalopnik. Nearly two years later, things haven’t gone so well for this art car.
The car that was once a regular at California art-car events and a rolling political statement (which brings up a question: Why don’t we ever see right-wing art cars? Probably for the same reason there are no right-wing mimes) got towed away and dragged to a South Bay self-serve junkyard, where it sits in the “fixer uppers” lot. Since even the most ardent Mustang fanatic wouldn’t pay more than scrap value for this thing, its next stop will be the Ford section of the yard, followed by a trip to The Crusher a couple of months later. This is what happened with the legendary Groovalicious Purple Princess of Peace, which ended up in the very same San Jose yard.
Much of the stuff that was glued all over the car when I saw it on the street is gone now, no doubt knocked off during its long downward spiral, but you get the idea.
Though I approve of the concept of the art car, I’m not a fan of the “crazy hoarder with glue gun” approach. Still, I’d prefer that a car like this remain on the street, shaking up the squares.

DOTJ-ArtCarMustang-4 DOTJ-ArtCarMustang-1 DOTJ-ArtCarMustang-2 DOTJ-ArtCarMustang-3 MustangArtCar-Wheel MustangArtCar-ArtCarFest05 MustangArtCar-ArtCarFest06 MustangArtCar-Crap01 MustangArtCar-Crap02 MustangArtCar-Crap03 MustangArtCar-Crap04 MustangArtCar-Crap05 MustangArtCar-Crap06 MustangArtCar-Crap07 MustangArtCar-Crap08 MustangArtCar-Crap09 MustangArtCar-Crap10 MustangArtCar-Crap11 MustangArtCar-Crap12 MustangArtCar-Crap13 MustangArtCar-Crap14 MustangArtCar-Crap15 MustangArtCar-Crap16 MustangArtCar-Crap17 MustangArtCar-Crap18 MustangArtCar-Dash MustangArtCar-Fascist_Killer MustangArtCar-Front MustangArtCar-Frt_LH MustangArtCar-Frt_LH_2 MustangArtCar-Frt_LH_High MustangArtCar-Interior_RH MustangArtCar-LH MustangArtCar-LH_Flank MustangArtCar-LH_Frt MustangArtCar-LH_Rr MustangArtCar-LH_Rr_2 MustangArtCar-Rear MustangArtCar-RH MustangArtCar-RH_Frt_High MustangArtCar-Rr_LH MustangArtCar-Rr_RH MustangArtCar-Snout MustangArtCar-Steering_Wheel MustangArtCar-Tail DOTJ-ArtCarMustang-5

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1965 Impala Hell Project, Part 17: Crash Diet, Frying Tires at the Dragstrip http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/1965-impala-hell-project-part-17-crash-diet-frying-tires-at-the-dragstrip/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/1965-impala-hell-project-part-17-crash-diet-frying-tires-at-the-dragstrip/#comments Thu, 03 Nov 2011 18:30:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=416276 After dropping the hopped-up 406 small-block I’d built from scratch in place of the worn-out 350 I’d swapped in 1990, I was geared up to take the car to the dragstrip and see if I could better the high-16-second ETs I’d managed in Atlanta; an important part of this process involved stripping a lot of […]

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After dropping the hopped-up 406 small-block I’d built from scratch in place of the worn-out 350 I’d swapped in 1990, I was geared up to take the car to the dragstrip and see if I could better the high-16-second ETs I’d managed in Atlanta; an important part of this process involved stripping a lot of unnecessary weight out of the car. At the same time (early 1999) I was reevaluating the Impala Hell Project’s role in my life, and thinking about how I might best realize my original vision for the car which had gone from art project to daily driver.
I decided the Pontiac Rally wheels, which I’d installed in order to clear the disc brakes I’d installed in 1992, weren’t really in keeping with the car’s hooptie/official vehicle/street-racer American car-archetype trinity, so I gave them to a neighbor who was restoring his ’72 Firebird. In their place, I got some 15×8 factory steel wheels from a junked Caprice cop car and added mid-70s Chevy van dog-dish hubcaps. I painted the dog-dishes flat black with primer-gray centers, and they looked mean.
The rear wheelwells had no problem fitting 275s, so that’s what I got.
Around this time, I was getting a little bored with my lifer job writing manuals for transit buses. It wasn’t long before I solved the job-boredom problem by crossing the Bay over to Multimedia Gulch, diving right into the frenzied maelstrom of the Dot-Com Boom (more on that in the next episode), but what I really wanted to do was write some sort of article about the Impala Hell Project and sell it to a magazine. Art magazine, car magazine, I wasn’t quite sure which, but somebody would be interested in the story, I felt. That meant that I needed some photographs showing the car in each of its three archetypal guises.
So, for the “drive-by-shooting hooptie” part, I shanghaied my sister and her boyfriend into donning ski masks and brandishing a deuce-deuce pistol for my photo session.
What I really needed was some assistants that looked like the cast from Boyz N The Hood and a bunch of TEC-9s to wave out the windows, but you work with what you’ve got.
Hmmm… not really what I had in mind. Putting the Three Archetypes photo-shoot project on hold, I decided that the car would need to lose a few hundred pounds for its new engine’s dragstrip debut.
First to go was the heavy steel heater/blower unit. Since I was no longer depending on the Impala as a daily driver by this time, luxuries such as climate control seemed frivolous.
Likewise, who needs carpeting or a glovebox?
The truck tiedowns I’d installed for my move to Atlanta back in ’95 didn’t weigh much, but every ounce counts. The bike rack on the trunk lid also had to go.
The galvanized-plumbing-pipe-based trunklid bike rack ended up getting repurposed as the carrying handle of the 91-pound Junkyard Boogaloo Boombox eight years later.
Interior trim, door panels, inner fenders, speakers, climate-control parts, and so on. If the car didn’t need it to run, stay legal, or keep the rain out, I removed it. I sold the very nice rear seat for a C-note to a guy restoring his ’66 Impala, making my car a sporty two-seater.
This experience served me well 9 years later, when I helped gut a Volvo 244 for race duty.
With a completely uninsulated interior, a high-compression engine with lumpy cam, and two-chamber Flowmasters, the interior of the car became markedly less luxurious. I never did weigh the car (the dragstrip scale was on the fritz), but I’m guessing I cut 300 pounds from the original 3,595-pound curb weight. That’s pretty close to second-gen Camaro weight, and about the same as a late-60 V8 Chevelle (or ’12 Camry).
As I went to job interviews at excessively exuberant San Francisco dot-coms (coming close to joining Mike Bumbeck at the gradual-downward-spiral-doomed Ask Jeeves), I thought about all the thousands of hours I’d put into goofy car projects. Thousands of hours I might have put into other creative projects, writing in particular; were those hours justified, long-term? I’d need to do something with the Impala story, use it to get myself some paid writing work that wasn’t instructions for bus mechanics or junk-mail copy.
It was still bugging the shit out of me that Bay Area hipsters and artist types— the majority of my friends since I’d been in my early 20s— still thought that an “art car” was supposed to be a sneer at the very concept of the automobile, reclaiming the car for the forces of peace and love rather than incorporating the canvas itself into the painting; these folks were drawn to the Burning Man milieu. The flip side of this attitude, found among my artistic-minded friends who’d drifted into the Yunnie (Young Urban Nihilist) embrace of Survival Research Laboratories and the like, involved flooring the irony gas pedal and driving apocalyptic creations straight into a really cool self-immolation. I needed to wrap up the concept of my not-particularly-ambitious art car project and package it in a way that would make the piece accessible to non-car-geek readers and, ideally, get my foot in the door of a more satisfying writing gig. For that, I’d need a complete set of high-quality photographs of the car in its final, drag-race-ready guise, so I loaded up the AE-1 with some high-buck Fujichrome Velvia and took the Impala to a parking lot with a neutral background.
The 360° circle-the-car set of photographs I shot that day in June of 1999 became the template for my photographs of street-parked cars in Alameda nearly 10 years later.
The layers of vendor-sample primer paint applied during my Mad Max In Georgia era had faded to exactly the texture and color blend I’d had in mind when I started the Impala Hell Project.
In the nine years since I’d bought the car, it had never been washed, nor had it ever spent a night in a garage. If greasy handprints, blobs of Form-A-Gasket, spilled Schlitz, or seagull poop happened to get on the car, I painted over it. Like the coating that builds up on a good cast-iron frying pan, the patina on my Impala had taken nearly a decade to achieve. Rat-rodders, take note: it takes dedication to apply the years of neglect and abuse needed to get this look.
Because I still wanted to lock tools and a jack in the trunk, I left the cross-country-move-security padlock hasp installed. The extra ounces might slow the car down 0.00004 seconds in the quarter-mile, but I was willing to make that sacrifice to keep my toolbox in my possession. Note the Stanford sticker in the back window; a friend in grad school there applied it on my car in order to, in her words, “Lower the property values of the place and make my tuition cheaper.”
In spite of the many layers of black paint on the bumper, you can still make out the Negativland “No Other Possibility” bumper sticker I applied soon after buying the car in 1990.
Even though the process ate up expensive film, I bracketed the hell out of these shots; you’re only seeing about a quarter of them in the gallery. I wanted the art directors at Car Craft, or maybe RE/SEARCH, to have their choice of images. Look, the three-year-old window numbers from the car’s last Georgia dragstrip trip are still visible!
I had to remove one of the Fiat X1/9 hood scoops I’d installed in 1993 in order to clear my dryer-duct-hose cold-air-induction system.
My plan was to saw off the underhood portion of that scoop to make it clear the ducts.
But at this point, the monoscoop look worked fine.
They say California cars don’t rust, but give a GM car a sufficient number of California rainy winters and eventually the water that gets past the leaky rear-window seal and pools in the trunk will make this happen. Air-cooled VWs have the same problem, only the water leaks past every seal and the process happens three times as quickly.
OK, enough of this artsy gibberish. Let’s go racing! The 406 was making frightening amounts of power; after putting 1,500 low-stress break-in miles on it during months of work commuting, I was finally able to really get on the gas. It became clear that traction was going to be the limiting factor at the dragstrip, with the 3.31-geared open differential sending all the power to the tire with the least traction. The Powerglide-optimized gear ratio was acceptable, and the good ol’ GM 12-bolt could handle the power without breaking, but I was getting absurd amounts of wheelspin under acceleration. It was so bad that the car would spin the right tire forever when shifting into second gear, unless I backed off the throttle. Sometimes it would get rubber going into third, which didn’t bode well for my dragstrip ETs. I’d thought that I could keep the project below two grand by omitting a limited-slip or locker differential (I’d had this crazy idea that the car’s weight coupled with fat tires and a rear swaybar would keep the wheelspin under control), but it looked like I’d be investing another few hundred bucks in the near future.
I’d heard that the dragstrip tech inspectors at Sears Point were real ball-busters, so I decided to make Sacramento Raceway Park the site of the new engine’s drag racing debut. Since the Sacto dragstrip was just under 100 miles from my Alameda home, I got a AAA roadside-service policy that covered four 100-mile tows per year; I figured I might need a tow home if I blew the fragile TH350 transmission at the strip (I’d already fried one $45 Half-Price-Day junkyard-special transmission doing parking-lot burnouts).
The Test-N-Tune crowd didn’t pay much attention to the Impala, except for a few approving nods at its evil-sounding cammy idle. Time to line up!
I’d learned from my freeway-onramp adventures with the new engine that I’d need an extremely delicate touch on the throttle to avoid a humiliating sit-&-spin one-legger non-launch my first time out. I contemplated strategies as I waited my turn.
Perhaps a super-gnarly burnout will help make that all-important right tire gooey enough to grab some pavement when the light goes green!
Well, probably not. But it’s still fun.
My plan was to baby the car off the line, then mash the pedal once it got rolling.
Here we go! The driver of the Fox Mustang next to me must have been slow on the draw, because the Impala jumped ahead even at quarter-throttle. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any grip whatsoever off the line— it felt like I was driving on ice— and the first-to-second shift was a tirespin disaster.
Still, it felt great hearing that glorious engine roar. The result: 15.479 seconds. That was a full second-and-a-half better than my best ET with the old engine, but the lack of traction was costing me plenty.
After nearly a dozen passes, I finally cracked the 14-second barrier… barely.
Back home, I decided to toss the two-grand budget out the window and fix the differential problem before returning to the quarter-mile. I’d also try to sell the Impala’s story. Next up: My first website, return to the dragstrip.

IntroductionPart 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10Part 11Part 12Part 13Part 14Part 15Part 16 • Part 17 • Part 18

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1965 Impala Hell Project Part 2: The Modifications Begin http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/1965-impala-hell-project-part-2-the-modifications-begin/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/1965-impala-hell-project-part-2-the-modifications-begin/#comments Wed, 01 Jun 2011 20:45:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=397067 In Part 1 of this series, I described the purchase of a 1965 Chevrolet Impala in early 1990, for use as the raw material in a complex performance/installation art piece. Within a single day of taking ownership of the car, I began the process of modifying it to suit my artistic vision. In harsh daylight, […]

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In Part 1 of this series, I described the purchase of a 1965 Chevrolet Impala in early 1990, for use as the raw material in a complex performance/installation art piece. Within a single day of taking ownership of the car, I began the process of modifying it to suit my artistic vision.

In harsh daylight, the body damage on the left rear door looked about right for the menacing appeal I had in mind, but those skinny bias-ply tires and Artesian Turquoise 14″ wheels just looked wrong.

The three dog-dish van hubcaps that came with the car added a certain goofy appeal, particularly in the context of UC Irvine’s bulldozed-by-The-Man “middle-class shantytown” trailer park, but they didn’t fit my idea of a car that touched each of the three automotive archetypes I had in mind (cop car/ghetto hooptie/hillbilly drag racer).

Identifying emblems also diluted the generic-steel-boxiness of the car’s image, so I enlisted the help of a cutoff-saw-equipped friend and we removed all but the small leaping-Impala-in-a-circle fender emblems. I thought about ditching the distinctive Impala circular taillights for something more generic (in 1990, 99.99% of ordinary people wouldn’t have recognized the profile of a post-’64 Impala), but didn’t have the heart to remove a styling feature with so much cool.

Flat black spray paint took care of the emblem holes and anything shiny on the car. I added some cryptic serial numbers on the doors, inspired by the numbers I painted on the Phone Police Enforcermobile.

The skinny-tire problem needed a very cheap solution, since I’d spent nearly half of my $400 budget purchasing the car. Fortunately, the friend to whom I’d sold my ’68 Mercury Cyclone still had the universal slotted mags with 295-width Radial TAs that I’d put on the car years before, and he sold them back to me for $50. A quick coat of flat black over the faux-gold coating, and the car looked orders of magnitude better.

The addition of some JC Whitney backup lights and the “No Other Possibility” bumper sticker from Negativland’s A Big 10-8 Place and my Impala was ready for its first real-world performance piece: “Lowering Property Values.” You can see the effect on UCI’s upscale parking lot already!
Next up: Part 3 — Lowering Property Values
1965 Impala Hell Project Roundup
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1965 Impala Hell Project Part 1: So It Begins http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/1965-impala-hell-project-part-1-so-it-begins/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/1965-impala-hell-project-part-1-so-it-begins/#comments Fri, 27 May 2011 01:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=396134 As I explained in the introduction to this series last week, I’m finally tackling the story of the most significant car I’ve ever owned. This ’65 Impala went through ten years, 100,000 miles, and many conceptual shifts during its time with me, but it all started out as my attempt to make an art car […]

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As I explained in the introduction to this series last week, I’m finally tackling the story of the most significant car I’ve ever owned. This ’65 Impala went through ten years, 100,000 miles, and many conceptual shifts during its time with me, but it all started out as my attempt to make an art car that wasn’t A) lame and B) contemptuous of the idea of the car itself.

Let’s face it: most art cars are attempts by the artist to spit on the canvas they’re using, to subvert the paradigm represented by the evil chariot of sprawl, pollution, and oppression, blah blah blah. Even if you agree with that view of the automobile, art cars tend to be no more than poorly— if earnestly— executed hippie doodles, the kind of thing that requires only time and a willingness to piss off the neighbors.

Which isn’t to say that all art cars suck; the amazing Sashimi Tabernacle Choir, for example, makes up for all 10,000 Tauruses with plastic action figures hot-glued all over their flanks.

Back in the pre-Internet Dark Ages of the late 1980s, however, the only art cars I’d seen were pretty weak. At that time, I was an art/English major living in a middle-class shantytown at an image-obsessed Orange County (California) university. Obsessed with the work of UCI product Chris Burden and under the influence of various crypto-nihilo-miscreants ranging from Laurie Anderson to Survival Research Laboratories, I developed the delusion that I might manage to make a living creating weird art. My band, Murilee Arraiac (yes, that’s the source of my pseudonymous first name; more on where the Murilee Arraiac/Martin name came from later, if anyone cares), a sort of cut-rate Negativland/Throbbing Gristle/Psychic TV-style difficult/noise outfit, played gigs in which my “instrument” was a police scanner feeding three OD-1 overdrive pedals and a Maestro “Wow-Wow” pedal.

I made Murilee Arraiac music videos with Super 8 cameras and tube-based thrift-store video cameras.

Meanwhile, I was abusing my privileges at the Art Department’s darkroom and metal shop, plowing through vast quantities of photo chemicals and welding supplies. Here’s a shot I made for a series of no-commercial-potential Christmas cards, entitled “Chicom Junky Santa Cookin’ Up Skag For The Holidays.” Note the cotton-ball beard.

Of course, UCI being a performance art powerhouse, I put together some performance/installation pieces. Here’s a 1988 piece entitled “Our Friend The Carburetor.” Clearly, I was a decade or two too early to be an “interdisciplinary multimedia artist,” but I still felt that I was going somewhere with my work. What I really needed, I decided in late 1989, was a piece based on a car that I’d buy and modify entirely for the sake of my art. Dropping in on a particularly bewildered art professor, I convinced him to sign off on some sort of “Independent Studies” sculpture piece, essentially granting me graduation credits for doing… something with a car. The question at that point was: what kind of car? I had a $400 tax refund to work with, plus a bunch of random Ford parts left over from the ’68 Mercury Cyclone and ’69 Torino fastback I’d owned in the recent past.

My daily driver at the time was a British Racing Green chrome-bumper MGB-GT, which I wouldn’t have hacked up even if it had been appropriate for the project I had in mind (in spite of being underpowered, ill-handling, and unreliable). No, what I wanted was a car that would let me riff on what I considered to be three very important American negative automotive archetypes:
1. The Official Vehicle: A boxy foor-door Detroit sedan, of the sort used by The Man’s muscle to keep order. I was thinking somewhat of American police cars here, but— this being the era of the Guerra Sucia, Salvadoran Civil War and Revolución Popular Sandinista— mostly I had in mind the death-squad enforcermobiles in Latin America. The Official Vehicle would need dog-dish hubcaps, minimal trim, cryptic numbers and emblems, extra antennas, etc. Top of the list: Ford Falcons and Fairlanes.
2. The Redneck Street Racer: Some sort of iconic Detroit mid- or full-size machine of the 1955-1973 era, featuring V8 engine with loud exhaust and lumpy cam, fat tires, and a proper butt-in-the-air rake. Imagine the kind of vehicle that would be performing smoky beer-soaked burnouts in a convenience-store parking lot in Muncie, Indiana in 1989. Top of the list: GM A-Body, Chrysler B-Body.
3. The Drive-By Shooting Ghetto Hooptie: A big Detroit luxury car of the 1960-1980 era, of the sort that Reagan Era suburban cul-de-sac dwellers imagine to be inhabited by Superfly and several Uzi-wielding gangster henchmen, while Parliament blasts from the stereo. Diamond in the back, sunroof top, etc. Top of the list: Cadillac Deville, 1961-64 Chevrolet Impala, Boat-Tail Buick Riviera.

Quite a dilemma, and no single car would be perfect on all three fronts. I scanned The Recycler classifieds every week, and finally came across this ad. The 1965 full-sized Chevrolet fit each of my three archetypes to a certain extent, junkyard parts (at the time) were ridiculously easy to find, and I could deflect criticism that I’d be “ruining” a “classic” by pointing out that the ’65 big Chevy had the highest single-year production figure for any vehicle ever made by Detroit: 1,463,200 Bel Airs, Biscaynes, and Impalas that year. I went to the bank, got 30 $10 bills (makes a fatter stack than $20 bills), and headed over to Surf City USA.

The car was located in a sketchy skinhead-infested neighborhood of HB, and the seller was a woman who alternated screaming at her many children and screaming at her many dogs as we negotiated. She kept pointing out that the high beams and low beams worked, to which I’d respond by pointing out that the 300,000-mile 283 smoked like crazy, the interior smelled like a mixture of boiling piss and burning horsehair, the tires were a mix of bald bias-plys and bald radials, and the oil-pressure light flickered ominously at idle. My plan was to drop in a junkyard 350 as soon as possible, but I still wanted to get a few miles out of the 283. The car had started life clad in Tahitian Turquoise paint, but a previous owner had applied a thick coat of some sort of industrial gloss-gray paint on it.

Flashing my fat roll of Hamiltons and standing firm on various lowball offers eventually paid off, and the car was mine for the sum of 150 American dollars. Roaring down the 405, with the smell of burning 30-weight in my nostrils, I felt excited but intimidated by the task before me.

Getting back to Irvine Meadows West, the UCI trailer park that was bulldozed by minions of The Irvine Company back in 2005, I admired the 283/Powerglide combo. The 2-barrel 283 had bad rings and valve guides, among other super-tired-engine woes, but it started readily and still offered decent power. The Powerglide worked fine, and would no doubt keep working until the day the sun went supernova, as is traditional for the venerable two-speed slushbox.

The interior needed plenty of work to fit with the triple-archetype concept behind my project. Actually, it needed plenty of work just to keep me and my passengers safe from scabies, ringworm, and lead poisoning; the front bench seat was stuffed with several layers of wet newspapers and dog-juice-soaked blankets, and the back seat wasn’t much better. The weatherstripping had long since dissolved into black powder, thanks to decades of high-sulfur-and-ozone Southern California air and blazing sunlight, so rainy California winters made for soaked carpets and excellent fungal breeding opportunities. Fortunately, self-service junkyards in 1990 were bursting with big GM sedans, so I’d be able to mix-and-match interior components while engine shopping. Next up: Part Two: The Modifications Begin.
1965 Impala Hell Project Roundup
Impala-1stDay-6 Impala1990Ad-520px Impala-1stDay-1 Impala-1stDay-2 Impala-1stDay-3 Impala-1stDay-4 Impala-1stDay-5 IMG_7538 SashimiChoir-10N Impala1990Ad-520px ChicomJunkySanta MGB-GT-1280px Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Art Car to Daily Driver to Drag Racer: 10 Years of My 1965 Impala Hell Project http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/art-car-to-daily-driver-to-drag-racer-10-years-of-my-1965-impala-hell-project/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/art-car-to-daily-driver-to-drag-racer-10-years-of-my-1965-impala-hell-project/#comments Thu, 19 May 2011 21:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=395412 I put in four years and thousands of posts at Jalopnik, writing about most of my formative cars… but never once did I write the story of the car that served me longest, gave me the most miles, endured the most engine swaps, and generally laid claim to a bigger piece of my heart than […]

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I put in four years and thousands of posts at Jalopnik, writing about most of my formative cars… but never once did I write the story of the car that served me longest, gave me the most miles, endured the most engine swaps, and generally laid claim to a bigger piece of my heart than all the rest of my motley lifetime fleet combined: a 1965 Chevrolet Impala sedan, built at the long-defunct South Gate Assembly Plant in Los Angeles, equipped with a 283/Powerglide drivetrain, and painted Artesian Turquoise. Today, at last, the story begins.

I bought it with tax-refund money during my senior year of college, with the idea that it would serve as my canvas for a high-concept mixed-media performance/installation art project (don’t worry, my version of an art car isn’t a ’79 New Yorker with plastic army men hot-glued all over it). This it did, helping pry loose a degree from the Regents of the University of California, and then it— totally unexpectedly— won me over and became a more-or-less bulletproof daily driver that put 100,000 miles under its wheels during the following decade. It moved me and all my possessions across the country and back, earned me the nickname “Mad Max” from my coworkers at Year One, survived the rigors of living on the streets of San Francisco, and accepted parts from hundreds of junkyard donors. By the end, it sported a three-dimensional patina that would make the most inked-up Billetproof hipster swoon with envy, and it was knocking off mid-13s at the strip with a low-buck small-block. It’s going to take a while to relate the entire story, so check in after this weekend’s LeMons race (part of the six-races-in-seven-weeks 24 Hours of LeMons Springtime Death March) to get the next installment.
Next: The Purchase.

1965 Impala Hell Project Roundup

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Curbside Classic: What Car Was This Once? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/curbside-classic-contest-what-car-was-this-once/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/curbside-classic-contest-what-car-was-this-once/#comments Sun, 17 Jan 2010 01:15:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=342035 The Saab 99 wasn’t the only vehicle in its owner’s back-yard imaginarium, although it took me a bit before I realized what it was, and what it started its life out as. This cut-down vehicle with the park bench for a seat was a summer project who knows how many years ago, and was used […]

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I recognize something familiar about thise

The Saab 99 wasn’t the only vehicle in its owner’s back-yard imaginarium, although it took me a bit before I realized what it was, and what it started its life out as. This cut-down vehicle with the park bench for a seat was a summer project who knows how many years ago, and was used to scoot around the neighborhood and the alleys. The blackberries have now claimed it as theirs. In any case, can you tell what it started out as? If you need a big hint, make the jump:

surely you recognize it now

Hint: there’s a corporate connection from this car to the Saab. A rather major one, at that.

 

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